Friday, February 13, 2004


Paul Greenberg

The Costs of Empire
Part 1 - Starting with a solid base
Somewhere on the Yale University campus, Paul Michael Kennedy must be smiling. Remember Paul Kennedy? Back in 1987 the then relatively unknown history professor published the book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, and almost instantaneously introduced the expression "imperial overstretch" into popular discourse. Although it did not take long for right-wing commentators to attack him, saying that it was the Soviet, not the US empire that had overstretched, his basic point remains the same.

As he wrote 10 years later in Atlantic Magazine: "The United States now runs the risk, so familiar to historians of the rise and fall of Great Powers, of what might be called 'imperial overstretch': that is to say, decision-makers in Washington must face the awkward and enduring fact that the total of the United States's global interests and obligations is nowadays far too large for the country to be able to defend them all simultaneously."

Well, now talk of empire is back in vogue since the war in Iraq has focused the attention of the American public, normally caught up in the soma of reality television, to an unusual degree on the burdens and costs of empire.

But while empire in all its imperial, multicolored, geopolitical hues may be an alluring sight, there is one thing to keep in mind. The process of creating and maintaining an empire, like making sausage or passing congressional legislation, is not a pretty process. In fact, it is costly, very costly, in terms of lives, money and liberty. It requires a large military establishment, which can consume a substantial, if not disproportionate amount of the national treasury. And it requires stationing and deploying forces around the world.

A base for every need
It is not easy being a global military power. It takes a lot of behind the scenes work to allow the F-15s and F-16s to fly over Iraq airspace, for the soldiers and Marines to deploy to Japan and South Korea, and to get the M-1 tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles and a myriad of other military equipment to the far-flung corners of the empire. Despite the rush to outsource federal programs, this is not yet a job that the Pentagon is willing to entrust to Federal Express or DHL.

Even in the 21st century, with jet and space travel, the world is a large place. The division of the world into military fiefdoms, or what US military planners euphemistically call the Unified Command Plan, requires something very old-fashioned: a network of overseas military bases.

True, the contours of the network change, waxing and waning over time. Many overseas US military bases overseas have closed since the end of the Cold War, and the number of US troops permanently stationed overseas has dropped by more than 250,000 since the Berlin Wall fell. But preparations to deploy American legions remain a primary Pentagon concern.

In fact, a number of individuals who now are part of the Bush administration (including Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld) produced in the fall of 2000 a 90-page blueprint for transforming the US military and the nation's global role. The report, "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century" released by the Project for the New American Century, argued that the US should not only attain and maintain military dominance, but should also project it with a worldwide network of forward operating bases over and above the country's already extensive overseas deployments.

That is why the Pentagon plans to dramatically change the shape of US military basing abroad. Unlike the Cold War era with its large permanent garrisons - like the over 200,000 troops that were kept in Germany - the fashion nowadays is for more temporary forward deployments to Spartan bases. While such plans were in the works before President George W Bush took office, September 11, 2001, did much to accelerate them. The goal is to create a web of far-flung, lean, forward-operating bases, maintained in peacetime only by small permanent support units, with fighting forces deployed from the US when necessary. To that end, a large reduction of the traditional US military presence in Europe is necessary.

The Pentagon is quite open and candid about it. In a speech last December 3, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith said: "President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld likewise are thinking about the relatively distant future. In developing plans to realign our forces abroad they're not focused on the diplomatic issues of the moment but on the strategic requirements and opportunities of the coming decades. Let's be clear about what we are and what we're not aiming to achieve through transforming our global defense posture.

"We are not aiming at retrenching it, curtailing US commitments, isolationism or unilateralism. On the contrary, our realignment plans are motivated by appreciation of the strategic value of defense alliances and partnerships with other states. We are aiming to increase our ability to fulfill our international commitments more effectively. We're aiming to ensure that our alliances are capable, affordable, sustainable and relevant in the future. We're not focused narrowly on force levels that are addressing force capabilities. We are not talking about fighting in place but moving to the fight. We are not talking only about basing, we're talking about the ability to move forces when and where needed.

"In transforming the US global defense posture we want to make our forces more responsive, given the world's many strategic uncertainties. We want to benefit as much as possible from the strategic pre-positioning of equipment and support. We want to make better use of our capabilities by thinking of our forces globally rather than as simply regional assets. We want to be able to bring more combat capabilities to bear in less time that is, we want to have the ability to surge our forces to crisis spots from wherever those forces might be."

Feith reiterated the point during a speech a week later in Romania. He said: "What we are interested in doing as we realign our global posture is taking advantage of the opportunity, with a much lighter footprint, to have the kinds of capabilities around the world that will allow us to react quickly with easily deployed forces, with lighter forces, to provide security and shore up our commitments around the world."

Last year saw the removal of some US troops from Germany and the establishment of new bases in, as Rumsfeld phrased it, "New Europe", the new North Atlantic Treaty Organization members Romania and Bulgaria.

Also it was reported that the 1st Armored Division, half the US Army's Europe combat force, traditionally based in Europe, would not return to its German bases. During the invasion of Iraq, air bases opened up for US use in Bulgaria's Sarajevo airfield, where refueling aircraft were based; the Bulgarian port of Burgas, the Romanian port Constanta and the Romanian military airfield of Mihail Kogalniceanu.

US military plans also include huge ex-Warsaw Pact training ranges and other bases in Poland and Hungary. Thousands of American and British troops have been conducting exercises on the Drawsko Pomorskiy and Wedrzyn training areas since 1996, taking advantage of the lack of restrictions compared to Germany. Use of the Krzesiny airbase outside Poznan, Poland, is also anticipated. In January Poland's Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski announced that Poland had launched negotiations with Washington on hosting US military bases on its territory.

The Taszar airbase in Hungary is also a possible candidate for an increased US presence, as it has supported US operations in the region since the US entry into Bosnia in 1995.

During his recent Asian tour, General Richard Meyers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the US is likely to use the joint military training facility it is seeking to establish in northern Australia to pre-position equipment and material.

The Air Force wants to return to the Cold War-era practice of basing fighter jets and other strike and support planes on Guam, the Pacific island that is in ready striking distance of the Korean peninsula, according to General William J Begert, commander of Pacific Air Forces.

An empire that spans the world
Despite this restructuring, the US military empire is still staggeringly large. The global "footprint" as it is called, conjuring up interesting images of just who and what the US treads on, spans the world.

Currently Pentagon officials are in the final throes of crafting an updated National Military Strategy that is expected to acknowledge a need to redistribute US forces and revamp their chains of command throughout the globe. "Global sourcing", a term used to describe the distribution of US forces across the Earth, is also an issue to be addressed in the new national military strategy. The new posture is expected to carry with it a new lingo for bases, including "power projection hubs", main operating bases and more flexible and agile "forward operating sites".

Under the plan, US troops, rather than inhabiting a small number of large garrisons, would rotate through dozens of small bases throughout the world on exercises, staying for only a few weeks or months at a time. Those bases could serve as launching points for military strikes to protect US interests or quickly strike out at terrorists.

Part of this redistribution is what author Chalmers Johnson calls "Baseworld". Johnson writes: "It's not easy to assess the size or exact value of our empire of bases. Official records on these subjects are misleading, although instructive. According to the Defense Department's annual 'Base Structure Report' for fiscal year 2003, which itemizes foreign and domestic US military real estate, the Pentagon currently owns or rents 702 overseas bases in about 130 countries and has another 6,000 bases in the US and its territories. Pentagon bureaucrats calculate that it would require at least [US]$113.2 billion to replace just the foreign bases - surely far too low a figure, but still larger than the gross domestic product of most countries - and an estimated $592 billion to replace all of them. The military high command deploys to its overseas bases some 253,288 uniformed personnel, plus an equal number of dependents and Department of Defense civilian officials, and employs an additional 44,446 locally hired foreigners. The Pentagon claims that these bases contain 44,870 barracks, hangars, hospitals, and other buildings, which it owns, and that it leases 4,844 more.

"These numbers, although staggeringly large, do not begin to cover all the actual bases that we occupy globally. The 2003 Base Status Report fails to mention, for instance, any garrisons in Kosovo - even though it is the site of the huge Camp Bondsteel, built in 1999 and maintained ever since by Kellogg, Brown & Root. The report similarly omits bases in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar and Uzbekistan, although the US military has established colossal base structures throughout the so-called arc of instability in the two-and-a-half years since September 11."

Nor does it include new facilities being built. In Iraq engineers from the 1st Armored Division are midway through a $800 million project to build half a dozen camps for the incoming 1st Cavalry Division. The new outposts, dubbed enduring camps, will improve living quarters for soldiers and allow the military to return key infrastructure sites within the Iraqi capital to the emerging government. According to these include such places as Camps Anaconda, Dogwood and Falcon, just to name a few.

The largest of the new camps, Camp Victory North, will be twice the size of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo - currently one of the largest overseas posts built since the Vietnam War.

Also bear in mind that the deployment of military forces abroad means negotiating complicated legal arrangements, euphemistically called Status of Forces agreements, so that US forces remain largely immune from host country laws. The United States has yet to begin serious negotiations with Iraqis on an agreement to guarantee that American troops in Iraq will remain immune from arrest and prosecution by local authorities once a new Baghdad government takes over in June.

This was a way of life for 19th century imperialists, who, for example, carved out little extraterritorial enclaves all along the coast of China. This was certainly the case of the collapsed empire of the Soviet Union, whose military men led privileged lives elsewhere in the communist bloc. This is the peacetime way of life of the US military, whose forces abroad are largely shielded from local judgments. Increasingly, if the Bush administration has its way (thanks to bilateral agreements forced on other nations), American soldiers in wartime will be responsible to no other body, certainly not to the new International Criminal Court, for crimes of war or crimes against humanity.

David Isenberg, a senior analyst with the Washington-based British American Security Information Council (BASIC), has a wide background in arms control and national security issues.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency transforms beyond maps to focus on geospatial intell

When mourners gathered in New York City's Battery Park for the one-year memorial of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a small, secretive agency played a critical role in securing the site.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, formerly the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, provided a unique look at New York during security planning for the memorial services. Using mapping technologies to create a virtual 3-D view, NGA officials provided imagery that revealed city subway tunnels that ran directly underneath the designated podium site — a possible security breach that had not been accounted for earlier.

NGA officials have been forced to transform from mapmakers to key players in the intelligence community through the delivery of timely geospatial intelligence.

"Imagery remains absolutely essential to military operations and to strategic intelligence, and it is more widely used today than at any point in the 20th century," said John Pike, director of, an organization that works to improve the capabilities of the intelligence community, including their use of geospatial information.

NGA provides vital geographic information and analysis in support of military operations and homeland security. The agency creates a highly specialized version of geospatial information, including 3-D simulated flights for U.S. military pilots and virtual reproductions of cities and urban areas.

NGA has grown into an important intelligence partner as the United States' focus on homeland security has sharpened in recent years.

The agency combines imagery, analysis and data to produce its specialized version of geospatial intelligence for customers such as national policy-makers, military commanders, homeland security agencies and intelligence community analysts.

Not always a player in the intelligence community, the agency's supporting role in the intelligence and military communities has evolved since its establishment in 1996.

Digging deeper
NGA incorporates four organizations — the Defense Mapping Agency, the Central Imagery Office, the Defense Dissemination Program Office and the National Photographic Interpretation Center — in addition to the imagery units of the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office, the National Reconnaissance Office, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA.

With the leadership of the agency's director, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper Jr., the evolution of its duties has paralleled the agency's increasing ability to produce more in-depth analysis and not just maps.

"I think that NGA is under good leadership and headed in the right direction with the focus on geospatial intelligence and not just on maps," said Robert David Steele, a former CIA and Marine Corps intelligence analyst and founder of, an organization that works for intelligence reform.

Joe Drummey, deputy director of NGA's Office of the Americas, said the agency's profile has improved largely because of the timeliness and usefulness of its intelligence. As a result, other officials include NGA officials in planning and decision-making processes during crucial situations.

NGA analysts, for example, are stationed on site during special events with the same technological capabilities found at agency headquarters. This timely data gives intelligence organizations and planners a knowledge advantage, Drummey said.

"This advantage is provided through the added value of geospatial analysts sitting side-by-side with the planners," he said.

As the agency's role has grown, so too has the agency itself. At the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, NGA had 15 analysts. The agency now has nearly 90 people focusing on homeland security, including nearly 70 analysts.

Generating the virtual view
NGA's intelligence data is designed to create a common operational picture, an overall package of information regarding situational awareness and analysis.

From their unique viewpoint, NGA officials create computer-generated virtual analytic environments that consist of high- resolution, high-density images and data on a city or designated area.

NGA made key contributions to the war in Iraq by providing geospatial intelligence to U.S. troops, an important role toward military success.

In addition to supporting global military operations, NGA also supports security within U.S. borders by creating virtual urban environments during special events. These 3-D views detail city maps, overhead imagery, terrain, buildings and infrastructure, elevation and even subterranean information.

That data provides security planners with a complete situational look. The planners allow NGA officials to influence the strategy and decision-making processes for allocating resources and planning for possible crisis situations.

NGA "is certainly in a position to play a larger role with respect to homeland security operations within the U.S." than they were before Sept. 11, 2001, Pike said.

Virtual environments are planned for U.S. cities deemed the most likely targets of terrorist attacks, Drummey said. Less than 10 have been completed, but officials plan to develop 50 computer simulations of cities in the next year and a half.

When supporting a special event, NGA organizes its geospatial data and analysis on a secure Web gateway named Palanterra, a one-stop service for security customers seeking specialized information.

The agency has also created a Web gateway that allows NGA to "bring the common operational picture to the desktop," Drummey said.

Palanterra, which uses geographic information system software from ESRI running on an Oracle Corp. database, provides secure Web access to real-time data and imagery for its approved customers, who enter through a secure gateway.

Placing the data online also allows NGA analysts to integrate critical infrastructure data in a spatial environment that can be continuously monitored and updated.

NGA first unveiled the Palanterra technology at the 2002 Super Bowl in San Diego. With the terrorist attacks still fresh in the minds of the public, the agency's virtual views of the San Diego area helped planners organize security resources against terrorist threats.

NGA also provided geospatial intelligence to support security efforts during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and will do the same at the upcoming Democratic and Republican national conventions.

Working well with others
NGA has developed effective partnerships to collect the needed geographic and spatial data.

The agency's federal partners include the civilian agencies involved in the Office of Management and Budget's Geospatial One-Stop program, which is an effort to link and catalog geospatial data from several agencies. NGA also works closely with NASA on compiling elevation data on the Earth's surface.

NGA also draws resources from commercial providers, especially for satellite imagery and data. In crises, the agency relies on classified government satellites operated by the National Reconnaissance Office because, Drummey said, the agency's "technology far exceeds commercial satellites."

Perhaps NGA's most notable civilian partner is the Interior Department's U.S. Geological Survey. Through their partnership, the geological survey acts as a broker to state and local agencies when gathering information for NGA, said Mark Naftzger, USGS program coordinator for the Cooperative Topographic Mapping program.

Naftzger reports that a 2002 memo establishes USGS as the lead agency for developing and directing working relationships with state and local departments.

NGA, as a national intelligence agency, cannot deal directly with state and local partners. Its charter also prevents the agency from collecting information about U.S. citizens on U.S. soil unless a request is made from another federal agency in the interest of homeland security, Drummey said.

Therefore, the cooperation between NGA and USGS is critical for domestic preparedness.

USGS uses a nationwide network of state liaisons to facilitate communication and prepare an inventory of information. Naftzger said much of the geospatial information is collected far in advance of special events that NGA must support.

USGS "does a lot of legwork upfront to get information to NGA so they can complete their analysis in the command centers," he said.

USGS is able to rely on state-level relationships that NGA typically does not have.

"What we bring to the table is a good history of working relationships with state and local governments," said Barbara Ryan, USGS' associate director for geography. "They're comfortable working with civilian agencies."

The partnership is beneficial to both parties. NGA is active in the National Map project, and officials then work with USGS to develop a single integrated data infrastructure of the country.

USGS' involvement has also helped raise the agency's profile throughout the country, which facilitates the collection of information from state and local officials.

NGA's partnership with the geological survey, other agencies and geospatial providers is crucial to its future success, Steele said.

"NGA will not succeed in isolation from USGS and other private-sector sources of geospatial data and expertise," he said. "We need agencies that emphasize standards and work to ensure that all information has geospatial attributes that enable automated all-source fusion."

Effective partnerships have helped stretch GIS funding while avoiding unnecessary redundancies in data collection.

"Because of these partnerships, we have been able to leverage the dollars that [NGA] has for geospatial data investment," Ryan said. "We've increased their investments. We don't want to get trapped into collecting data for just one area. We want to be able to collect the data once and use it many times."

Drummey estimates that NGA's efforts to share information have saved other federal agencies millions of dollars that would have been spent on acquiring that information.

He also said that NGA's geospatial analysis has a wide range of applications. The same data used by military and defense organizations is also helpful to civilian agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, which uses aeronautical data, and disaster preparation and response organizations such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

An eye on the future
NGA officials have worked for more than a year to develop the Homeland Security Infrastructure Program. The project's goal is to build a single integrated domestic infrastructure database for federal use.

The program will be the first to compile such information for the entire country into a single database. It will include infrastructures of U.S. entry/exit points, such as land borders and seaports, and up to 133 urban areas.

The program will feature a layered system of information generated from several sources, including commercial imagery, terrain elevation data and population data. The idea is to create a common operational picture for the entire country that will aid in homeland security and crisis response and recovery.

Steele supports building a network that readily shares geospatial information. "We urgently need to think in terms of global information-sharing networks that lower the cost of global coverage and real-time monitoring to the mutual benefit of all governments and organizations striving to stabilize the Earth," he said.

The infrastructure program will allow state and local partners to access the information, Drummey said. NGA officials take information from the infrastructure program and give it to the National Map project if the data is applicable.

Pike supports the idea of increased geospatial imagery and data collection for U.S. urban areas. He said that this effort has lagged behind the agency's military support.

"What they could do better is to get better imagery cover of American cities," Pike said. "This is part of the global war on terrorism and is something that the federal government needs to be doing."

A second infrastructure program NGA officials are developing is the National System for Geospatial Intelligence. As the program's functional manager, NGA is helping develop a Web-based system for federal decision-makers to access geospatial intelligence.

NGA officials are developing the infrastructure within their agency but hope to expand it throughout the federal government.

In conjunction with this project, NGA is attempting to modernize its infrastructure while transforming to a digital, data- centric business environment.

Drummey feels that the biggest challenge facing NGA is "the process of working through various intelligence oversight and policy issues, along with data-sharing issues."

"But we're working through it, and we're certainly supported in the intelligence community," Drummey said.

As a strong proponent of intelligence reform, Steele said that NGA needs increased funding for the resources to accomplish its mission.

"NGA is severely underfunded, and it is incapable of making full use of commercial imagery and geospatial data sources," he said. "NGA remains in the Stone Age with respect to processing, and they are never going to overcome that problem until there has been a full and complete reform of the intelligence community as a whole."

Steele also calls for increased support of global military operations, including those in Africa, Central Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines, another area he feels could be better served with increased resources.

"NGA has done the best it could, but our troops deserve better," Steele said.

Continued development is the key to the agency's future effectiveness in a world with constantly expanding terrorist threats, regardless of funding levels, Drummey said.

Despite the many challenges facing the intelligence and homeland security communities, it's a safe bet that NGA will have a sharp eye on the situation.

The Army must restructure to more modular, capabilities-based forces to better meet combatant commanders' requirements. The Army will continue to support operational deployments/rotations while assuming more missions as needed for our nation at war. Changing the organizational structure of units must be logically consistent with future force concepts but tempered by the technological capabilities that are reasonably available within the near term.

Since Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker was confirmed in 2003, the Army changed the terms used to describe the components of the Army. Service officials use the term “Current Force” to refer to what used to be the Legacy and Interim Forces, while “Objective Force” has been replaced by “Future Force.”

On January 28, 2004, Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, briefed the House Armed Services Committee on plans to restructure the Army's current organization. The service will retain the 10 division headquarters as battle command headquarters but move some enabling resources – such as air defense, signal and intelligence – to the brigade level. The Army would also increase the number of brigades under those divisions from three maneuver brigades to four. That alone would take the service from 30 brigades under the division structure to 40. Growing the fourth includes taking much of the division-level support elements -- such as engineers, military intelligence, supply and maintenance units -- and making them organic to the brigade structure.

The Army will continue to support operational deployments/rotations while assuming more missions as needed support national war aims. Changing the organizational structure of units must be logically consistent with future force concepts but tempered by the technological capabilities that are reasonably available within the near term.

To accomplish this, brigade combat teams will be restructured into Brigade Units of Action. Once transitioned, BUAs will enable greater capacity for rapid packaging and responsive and sustained employment to support combatant commanders. BUAs will also enhance the expeditionary and campaign qualities of Army forces by better enabling Joint/coalition operations. The transition to BUAs will also increase the brigade-equivalent forces available to meet both enduring and emerging mission requirements.

This is an Army initiative, and Training and Doctrine Command has the long-term mission. TRADOC was given the responsibility of focusing on Modularity, which is one of Schoomaker’s 16 focus areas. Modularity would give smaller units a degree of flexibility and more power. Previously, whenever there was a change to be made in the Army it would be handed to TRADOC to do an analysis and within a few years come up with and execute a plan. The constraint placed on the TRADOC design effort is that the redesigned division cannot have additional soldiers. To oversee TRADOC's design and development of the future force for the Army, a Futures Center will stand up, realigning functions and resources from the headquarters staff and from the Objective Force Task Force.

The restructuring would leave a division with three types of brigades: heavy, with armor; light, with motorized infantry, and airborne.

The 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga., moved to four brigades as the Army’s modularity test bed shortly after it returned from Iraq in 2003. Their task was initially to turn their three brigades into five rapidly deployable “brigade units of action” that are able to plug into any division and independently fight a high intensity conflict. The proposal would cause the division to get larger by about 2,000 to 3,000 troops. The brigade numbers would stay the same, but combat troops would decrease by about 10 to 15 percent.

The 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., commanded by Maj.Gen. David Petraeus, has the mission of reorganizing next. By early 2004 the 101st Abn. Div. had officially begun to redeploy their more than 18,000 troops after serving in operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Army plans to stand up an additional two division brigades within a year and grow from 33 active-duty brigade combat teams to 48 by 2007.

The plan includes for the National Guard to grow from 15 enhanced separate brigades to 22 in the same period.

The restructure effort means a need for more infantrymen than the current Army force structure allows, about 3,000-4,000 more per division on the active-duty side

The reorganization also called for the conversion of some 39 field artillery battalions into military police, civil affairs and light infantry units.

The Army will disband 10 air defense artillery battalions. Many of these positions will migrate down to each brigade’s reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance and target acquisition unit.

In Army aviation, the Army plans to create four aviation brigades as part of the restructure effort. Each of those brigades will include two attack battalions with 24 Apache helicopters each, a battalion of 30 Black Hawk helicopters, an unmanned aerial vehicle section and organic maintenance company.

Command-and-control headquarters will be designed as rapidly deployable modules. The division headquarters today – in order to deploy – must pull support from its signal battalion up to division headquarters, pull a lot of intelligence out of its intelligence battalion, pull fires out of the division artillery, pull engineers, and form a larger entity. This makes no sense in the environment we expect to fight in in the future. The division headquarters will be stand-alone entities; they will not rely on subordinate or higher headquarters for manning. The headquarters will be formed and trained as a deployable entity. It will have four command posts in that division headquarters, a homestation operations center that will remain at home, and it will rely on reachback to support the forward-deployed piece of the division. The Army will send two headquarters forward; one will be Joint forces land component-capable in a division. And if the Army is successful in this endeavor, we will have a Joint cell in that headquarters full-time and robust enough to support combat operations in peacetime.

One element is to make every soldier a rifleman. The support troops in the new brigades will have to be more versatile as soldiers. Where under the current structure troops have completed basic training then gone immediately into their specialized fields of logistics, etc., the new structure will require a higher level of combat proficiency from each soldier. This draws on the traditions of the Marine Corps, where every soldier is an Infantryman first, and on Schoomaker's own experience in the Special Forces, where every member of a 12-man "A" team is a special operator first, and a communications expert or medic second.

The reorganization also aims to increase stability within units, which translates to greater stability in Soldiers’ families. Schoomaker said “It’s time we stopped reassigning Soldiers just because they’ve been somewhere for three years. I want to keep Soldiers together – train them cohesively, deploy them as teams and bring them home as teams,” Schoomaker said. “With less frequent turnover, units can build a foundation of experience as long as there is professional development. Investing in leadership training equates to investing in the unit.”

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